Tuesday, August 22, 2023

What's happening in the Special Session

by Rod Williams, August 22, 2023- The Pamphleteer is providing good coverage of the special session of the General Assembly.  To access the coverage of The Pamphleteer, follow this link for today's issue, then click "archive" to view previous coverage. If you want to actually watch the sessions, The Pamphleteer provides the links to the legislative website where you can find the videos. 

Issue 547 published August 17 lays the groundwork for the session and tells you some of the bills filed for consideration and what to expect. Issue 548 published August 18 continues with more examination of the bills that are filed and insight on the lay of the land. Issue 549 published yesterday tells you of the opening session and includes a piece by Jerod Ra'Del Hollyfield exploring Red Flag Laws. That issue also has an interview House Speaker Cameron Sexton on what to expect in the session. On day one, Sen. Janice Bowling (R-Tullahoma) motioned to adjourn indefinitely but that motion was not considered due to parliamentary rules. 

Today's issue, number 550 report that new rules were adopted to govern behavior of members of the legislature and visitors. From The Pamphetteer No. 550:

Put together by a bipartisan ad hoc committee, the session’s rules packet includes new consequences both for interrupting business in committees or during floor sessions by any “material disruption” and for speech deemed out of order. Though a member who violates these rules will be unable to speak during floor or committee discussions, he or she will still be able to vote on legislation.

Also included are strictures prohibiting signs in the gallery, recording devices on the floor, and sound amplifying devices in both the gallery and on the floor. Despite some pushback, these rules were eventually adopted by the House after an hour of deliberation. It’s worth noting, though, that the rules are already being bent: this morning, protestors who appeared in the gallery with signs were allowed to stay. 

I hope the new rules work and can allow the legislature to conduct business in an orderly fashion without the disruptive antics of the two Justins.

There are plenty of people providing coverage and commentary on the special session, so unless I just can't keep contain myself, I am going to leave coverage to others. Other outlets providing coverage of the special session include The Tennessean, The Nashville Scene, Tennessee Conservative, all the local news stations, various organizations, and more, but I think The Pamphleteer is doing the best job and I recommend that source for the best coverage. 

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